Friday, January 15, 2010

Put your money where your flooring is

**This project has nothing to do with our house, but I think people who enjoy reading about how we rip things apart in our house will be interested in this renovation project and plus I'm going to complain about it a lot which just seems uncouth on Tigertree's blog.

We decided a while ago that we were going to tile the whole store with pennies. We have been collecting pennies from our very generous customers for a few months now and by the time we realized that we were in way over our heads, it was too late to turn back.
Obviously it would take too long to lay out each individual penny at the shop, so we thought we could really save some work time there by assembeling square foot tiles of the pennies here at home. We ordered some tile mesh (like the stuff that connects any small tiles when you buy them) which arrived Wednesday and we went straight to work.

We tried a bunch of different ways to attach the pennies to the tile mesh, but after a few hours, a complicated multi-step approach was all we could come up with. I remember something from my lean manufacuring classes about how efficiency goes decreases by some multiple every time the product has to be touched. We are touching the hell out of each of these 200,000 pennies.

Touch 1: Unwrapping

Have you ever been frustrated with a shop clerk that has to open a new roll of change during your transaction? Its so hard to get the paper to start to come off, and then the change gets all stuck at both ends. We have about 3,500 rolls to unwrap. Theres a few days of work that we didn't count on.

Touch 2: Spacing

The pennies have to be layed out in uniform rows so that the tiles we are making will line up properly. The template we made holds something like 175 pennies, and two sets of those make up one square foot.

Touch 3: Taping

After the pennies are laid out they need to be transfered to the mesh. We do this by taping them down in rows of three to lift them off the template.

Touch 4: Glue Application

We are using contact cement to adhere the pennies to the mesh. The fun thing about contact cement is that it need to be applied to both sufraces that it is going to join. So we have to first roll it onto the mesh itself (which by the way came in two giant rolls that need to be cut into 1 foot squares)and then roll it onto the pennies. Wait half an hour and get a huge headache from the fumes and then you put the two together.

Touch 5: Sticking
Once the cotact cement is dry, the penny strips can be lined up on the mesh. Five strips per square.

Touch 6: Untaping
After the bond between the mesh and the pennies is secure, the tape needs to be removed. You might say that this isn't a touch since it just involves the tape. You would be right if about a quarter of the pennies didn't decide to stick onto the tape instead of the mesh at which point I have to pull them off and set them individually.

And that's it! Now you are 1/750th of the way done!

We need about 750 square feet. We started on Wednesday and have been working pretty much non stop. We have almost 100 square feet done. And to make it all HGTV, the Alive is supposed to be coming next weekend to do a story on the finished product.


Lori said...

Dear GOD. Amazing concept, needs trained monkeys to accomplish. Wow. It's going to look ridiculously good though. Everyone will want penny floors.

Rachel said...

Whoa. And you will never ever move the store, right?

Tigertree said...

Before we started this, Josh was insisting that if we moved he was going to pull up the floor to cash in the pennies. "Come on, its $2000!" he said. He has since changed his tune. The floor will stay if we go- no more touching the pennies!

Brittany said...

Wow! This looks beyond intense. Don't worry, we can put off the Alive feature as long as necessary!

GlassFlower said...

I have never been to your store, but I will be coming to look at your dressing room floor this weekend. This is a totally cool idea!